Review by Wafles
"A great breath of fresh air in the ever monotonous world of MMORPGs."
"A great breath of fresh air in the ever monotonous world of MMORPGs."
This game receives a lot of negative feedback, and a lot of good feedback. Overall, there's a thing you'll see in common with all the reviews that rate it low: they've hardly played it!
Most of the reviews I've looked at have rated the game saying that it's too boring, and monotonous, but then again, aren't all games (especially MMORPGs)? It takes patience to play this game, I have to agree, but there are times when people go overboard and judge a book by its cover, and I'm here to give the fairest rating possible of a game that has consumed much of my free time over the past 18 months.
One could easily say that I do have more experience in this game than most, though there are people on the GameFAQs message boards who have been around for a few more weeks than I have. I'll try to let everyone see exactly what's good about this game, and what's bad about this game, and of course, I'll give it ratings by category.
Before hand, I do have one thing to say, though. This game is an MMORPG, when you play this game, you can't expect things to be exactly how you want them, and you can't expect getting to a high level to be a stroll in the park. Never played an MMORPG before? Try this! It's free, and easily the second best MMORPG I've seen (EverQuest being the first, but I don't like paying for games on a monthly basis). MMORPGs, in short, are basically a game where the entire point of the game is to level up, improve your characters skills, and attributes, level up some more, and do the occasional quest. Do not expect a storyline, or exciting plot twists, expect a different experience.
Gameplay : 9 / 10
This is by far the most interesting part of this game. This is to my knowledge the only 2 Dimensional MMORPG in English, and they did a pretty darn good job at making it. The system of playing is just basically amazing, with easy to assign controls, and complete keyboard movement instead of having to click on your enemies with the mouse. You can walk around, and press a button on your keyboard to swing a sword, or throw a throwing star, or any other amazing skill. I hadn't seen something this easy, and fun to control before I found this game, it's definitely what makes it shine.
I do have to say, even though keyboard interface is fun, there's something even better you can do with this game, use a JoyPad! I've been using one for 15 of the 18 months that I've been playing this game (and gone through 2 of them), and I have to say that once you start, you can't go back. Granted, control with a JoyPad is a bit awkward at first, but if you stick to it for a few days, you start noticing how much better it is. In order to use one, you'll have to go and download JoyToKey, though. It's freeware, not shareware, so there's no harm, just make sure you turn on POV switches in order to activate the D-pad, since it recognizes the left analog stick as the primary directional thing.
Graphics and Character Appearance : 10 / 10
I've never seen something so beautiful before. Wizet has managed here to make a game that uses beautiful flowing graphics, without distracting you from what you're supposed to do: train. It makes the whole experience enjoyable, everything appears so incredibly smooth, and easy on the eyes, unlike many games, where they try to overload you with fancy 3 dimensional graphics, this just slaps on a nice simple flowing pattern, and sticks to it (though it does get a bit odd in the different area in the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese version of Maple Story, but you probably wont be playing those).
The other thing that shines here: character appearance. I've played a lot of the MMORPGs out there that are offered, and I have to say, this one tops them all in the way you can make your character look. Since it's 2 dimensional, it's a bit easier to do so, but it definitely expresses the way your character look. This is why the Cash Shop is so effective and popular (the cash shop is completely optional, and allows you to buy special clothing for your character with real money, via PayPal).
Music and Sounds : 4 / 10
This is definitely this game's only real fault. The music will drive you mad, but there's a simple solution, mute it. In fact, please mute it, and put on some stuff that you like in Windows Media Player, or something in the background. My computer isn't very good, and putting on a little bit of music (or Last FM radio) in the background doesn't even affect the game's speed, nor does it cause things to be choppy and less smooth. I do have to say though, deep in the Toy Factory in Ludibrium, there's some really cool music down there, and I un-mute the music to listen to that, but that's about it.
The sounds however, are decent. They've got some really cool sounding ones, and some really horrible sounding ones, you'll just have to take your pick on which ones you choose to like or dislike.
Server Choices and Channels : 7 / 10
Maple Global offers 5 Servers at the date I'm writing this, (4/14/06): Scania, Bera, Broa, Windia, and Khaini. Their popularity decreases from left to right, but there are advantages and disadvantages to all.
First of all, I have to advise against joining Scania. It's far too crowded, and it's ridiculous. During peak hours, it could take up to 15 minutes of clicking as fast as you can while holding enter just to get into the server (and mind you, the capacity is plenty high, and if it where higher, they'd have to add more channels, which I don't think they can do without changing some of the interface a bit. Bera is a good choice, but it's still a little hard to get channels in some of the peak training areas. Broa, in my opinion, is the most balanced of the servers, Windia, would be the server to join if you want emptiness, and to my knowledge, a lot of Hackers reside in Khaini, ruining training areas.
There are 20 channels in each server, which is more than enough for Broa, Windia, and Khaini, but Scania and Bera could stand 30 or so, but yeah, that'd be hard to pull off without an Interface change.
Character Development : 10 / 10
This is also, another great feature that Maple Story has to offer. All of the classes are unique, and for the most part, are fairly balanced (minus 3rd jobs, but they're still close). Each class has a couple of really cool skills to enjoy, and each class has a couple of useless dud skills that most people won't bother with.
Each time you level, you'll receive 5 Ability Points, and 3 Skill points. The Skill points go into your special attacks, such as the Warrior's Power Strike, or the Mage's Magic Claw, and the Ability points will go into character statistics, such as Intelligence (INT), Dexterity (DEX), Luck (LUK), or Strength (STR). What you put them into will vary from class to class, but it's always 2, and only two sets of ability points, and the others you'll want to keep fairly low.
Each character starts off as a Beginner. From there, there are 4 jobs to choose from, and from each of those jobs, they expand one more time into numerous parts. The four primary branches would be Magicians, Thieves, Archers, and Warriors. Thieves split into Assassins (Throwing Stars) and Bandits (Daggers). Magicians split into Clerics (Heal, etc.) Fire/Poison Mage, and Ice/Lightning Mage. Warriors split into Fighters (Axes or Swords), Pages (Blunt Weapons or Swords) or Spearmen (Spears or Polearms). Archers split into Hunters (Bows), and Crossbowmen. Each class has aspects that make them fun, whether it is a little bit more power, exceptional speed and quickness, or a balance.
Community : 1 / 10
This is what happens with free games, and there's no way around it. You get a lot of idiots. Lots of people think that everything will just fall into their laps, and that they wont have to work to get what they want, so they start begging, or in order to irritate people for no reason, some people will just try to KS (Kill Steal, basically they kill what you're killing so that you get less EXP) you just for the hell of it. No reason, they just do. The community sucks. Truly.
Once you get above level 60 or 70 or so (which takes a long time), you've weeded through many of the idiots, and now you'll be among slightly more mature people. That's the only reason this category gets a 1 instead of a 0, but even then, you'll run into the occasional moron. Games like Everquest excel much more in areas like this.
Overall Rating : 9 / 10
This game gets a 9 out of 10 for basically the good categories mentioned above, and if you can get around idiots, and mute the music, it's great. There is one thing I can say for sure though: this game is the best game you can play for free. Period. You might disagree and say Gunbound is better, but still, I choose this. It's exciting, original, and simply put: refreshingly different. You may be one of the people who finds this game strangely addicting, or maybe you'll grow bored of it after a few hours. However, I advise you, don't give up right in the beginning. Try to get to level 15 before giving up. At level 15 you'll probably have experienced a few skills, and you'll know a little bit more about what there is out there.
For more reference, and simply to look at things that might be cool, head on over to http://www.hidden-street.net/. There are some pretty cool images of high leveled monsters there, and weapons/armors that may just convince you on how great this game really is.
Thanks for reading.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/17/06
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